USDA says corn supplies drop

Data released Friday showed a drop in the amount of corn in storage and raised concerns that supplies will remain tight and prices high in the near term.
By The Associated Press Published: March 31, 2012
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New government data released Friday showed a drop in the amount of corn in storage and raised concerns that supplies will remain tight and prices high in the near term.

Corn futures surged about 6.6 percent. The report — and the possible impact on food prices — overshadowed a projection by the government that corn growers will plant the largest crop in 75 years.

The Department of Agriculture said corn supplies as of March 1 totaled 6.01 billion bushels, down about 8 percent from a year ago. About half the corn is stored on farms.

Although prices have eased some in recent months, high crop prices have been a thorn in the side of consumers and government for the past two years. Corn is used in everything from fuel and animal feed to syrup for soda.

Wheat stocks plunged 16 percent from a year ago, the USDA said. Soybean supplies, meanwhile, rose 10 percent.

In a separate report released Friday, the USDA said farmers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn this spring — above the projections of the USDA and most analysts. That would be 4 percent more than a year ago and the highest level since 1937, when 97.2 million acres were planted.

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